Tag Archives: Manny Flores

Baby Talk

It’s not as if I don’t care if baby bottles contain toxic chemicals. I do. A lot.

But I’m constantly amazed at the number of issues aldermen find time to research, hold hearings on, and draft legislation for that is beyond the ken of the job as if they have nothing else to do, like, say, perform oversight duties on City Hall or focus like a laser on development, crime, schools and the other basics that continue to be neglected in ward after ward.

So yes, I care about babies. Really, I do. But when I received this e-mail from my alderman, Manny Flores (1st), I had to wonder: Is this his job? Does he work for the EPA or the attorney general’s office? Why isn’t he holding hearings instead on Mayor Daley’s abuse of power? Or maybe more to the point, on the instability of Wicker Park’s business strip on Milwaukee Avenue since gentrification wiped out family businesses and brought us boutiques, bars and restaurants with shelf lives of six months each? Or about ways to maintain affordable artist housing in the neighborhood? Or about the totally inappropriate dog park in tiny Wicker Park – the actual park – that aggravates all of us who live across the street? Or, more importantly, how to implement actual community policing in the ward?

I mean, yes, I don’t want to see babies harmed, but I sense there is a long list of toxins anyone could pick and campaign against. City Hall could put together a nice effort here along with its health and environment departments. But why is Manny Flores spending his time on this one?

Here is the e-mail:

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Rocking the Vote

Ben and Mick at Clout City take a closer look at the strangest and most surprising votes cast on Wednesday in the Children’s Museum debacle.

Perhaps most surprising was Bob Fioretti, who, as the Chicago Journal reports, had at some point even advised Brendan Reilly on the issue.

And a constituent at Clout Street says that Fioretti’s office told him he was a No vote a mere two days before the meeting.

Fioretti’s explanation that the most recent draft of the museum’s design won him over sounds pretty thin, especially given his ridiculous assertion that aldermen weren’t lobbied by the administration. In fact, several aldermen have anonymously confirmed to the Tribune and the Reader that a whole lot of shakin’ was going on.

Fioretti has been an independent force in his rookie season as an aldermen, but he appears to have trod that well-worn path to the Dark Side.

Other surprises: Ricardo Munoz and Toni Foulkes supporting the mayor; Leslie Hairston not. And Helen Shiller isn’t even a shadow of her former self; she’s a shadow of her shadow.

Anyway, go read Mick and Ben’s piece.

P.S. I saw Billy Ocasio with one of those cheat sheets during an appearance on Chicago Tonight about the Olympics; he tried to argue that Millennium Park came in on-time and on-budget. Our mayor can control time and space!

Division Dispatch #3

In Studs Terkel’s Division Street: America, Division Street is a metaphor. But here in Chicago, Division Street is a living, breathing metaphor, and from time to time on this blog, I like to check in with it to see what it says about our city, our lives, our nation.

For example, Division Street separates Wicker Park from East Village (east of Damen) and Ukrainian Village (west of Damen). In last week’s Reader, Ben Joravsky described how “Dan Rostenkowski kept the villages under his thumb even after he’d gone off to Congress – and jail.”

What could be more Chicago than that?

Joravsky wonders, though, if the Rostenkowski era has finally come to an end with the arrival of Alds. Manny Flores in the 1st Ward and Scott Waguespack in the 32nd. In both wards, it ought to be noted, Machine incumbents were ousted in large measure for “haywire development” in their wards – development done at the behest of Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Somehow, though, Daley found himself on the other side of the street when voter ferment threw the bums out.

* Division Dispatch #1: “You don’t have to worry about getting mugged on Division near Damen at 10 on Friday night like you did 10 years ago. And as folks who live there will tell you, the main drag isn’t a hooker depot anymore.”

* Division Dispatch #2: “A three-block section of [Chicago neighborhood] Wicker Park that once accommodated eight families, two vintage clothing stores, a French cleaners, and a gourmet bakery has been completely razed to make way for a private livery stable and carriage house.”